Izzo says Big Ten tourney is 'big' for Spartans Print
Written by Admin   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 22:16
NCAAB Headline News


 (Eds: With AP Photos.)
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - In most seasons, the Big Ten tournament seems to be regarded as simply a speed bump for Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
It comes after the regular season, which Izzo values, and before the NCAA tournament, where he has built his legacy as one of the best coaches in college basketball.
This year, though, the conference's showcase is important for Izzo and his struggling team.
''The tournament is going be big for us,'' Izzo said Tuesday. ''Most years it's not.''
The 22nd-ranked Spartans (23-8) will face the winner of the Iowa-Northwestern game Friday night.
''The tournament will give us an opportunity to get some extra time together on the court to work on our chemistry,'' senior forward Adreian Payne said. ''It also gives us a chance to win a championship before we go to win another one in the NCAA tournament.''
Michigan State was picked to win the Big Ten title and expected to contend for the national championship.
It started the season ranked No. 2 and was the nation's top-ranked team for a three-week stretch in late November and early December.
A string of setbacks slowed six players or put them on the sideline this season, turning a once-promising season into a disappointing one.
Branden Dawson returned March 1 after missing nine games with a broken right hand, giving Izzo all of his players in a game for the first time in nearly two months.
That didn't make much of a difference.
The Spartans lost at home to Illinois by seven points, bounced back with a double-digit win over Iowa and closed the regular season with a two-point setback at Ohio State - their seventh loss in 12 games after an 18-1 start.
Slowly and surely, injuries and illnesses took a toll and led to 15 different starting lineups.
Gary Harris missed three games early in the season with a sprained right ankle. Payne was out for seven games with a sprained right foot. Keith Appling had a hip injury midway through the season and sore right wrist led to him missing three games last month. Matt Costello was out for four straight games early in the season because of mononucleosis. Travis Trice missed a game with foot blisters and another game because he was ill.
While success in the Big Ten tournament could improve the Spartans' seeding in the tournament that really matters, Izzo insisted he isn't worried about whether his team is seeded third, fourth, fifth or sixth.
''I'd play anybody,'' he said. ''Really, anybody in the whole tournament.''
Izzo said No. 1 Florida is ''really, really good,'' but he doesn't believe any team in college basketball is as talented as past champions such as North Carolina in 2009.
That's part of the reason Izzo is fired up for the Big Ten tournament and the opportunity it gives the Spartans to play up toward their potential.
''Every game and every practice we can have benefits this team - a lot,'' he said. ''It benefits them a lot because we just need to play together.
''There's enough talent here. There's enough caring here. There's enough positive things here to make a run.''
---
Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage
 

NCAABB Team Pages

Top NCAABB Public Bets

#1 751 UL Monroe 80%
#2 737 Wisc Green Bay 77%
#3 725 Creighton 75%
#4 595 Murray State 75%
#5 585 Eastern Kentucky 75%
#6 720 Virginia 72%
#7 745 Oregon State 70%
#8 727 Maryland 69%
#9 731 Seton Hall 69%
#10 521 Kansas 67%
View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NCAABB Futures

NCAA BASKETBALL TEAM MENS TOURNAMENT ODDS CURRENT
KENTUCKY 13/10
DUKE 15/2
WISCONSIN 8/1
ARIZONA 17/2
GONZAGA 12/1
LOUISVILLE 14/1
VIRGINIA 18/1
VILLANOVA 25/1
SMU 33/1
KANSAS 33/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com